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Sun protection.

Old 03-08-20, 12:51 PM
  #1  
ironwood
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Sun protection.

My advice to anyone planning a long tour in a sunny place is: Protect your skin, wear long sleeves and pants and full gloves. Also protect your nose. I toured a lot many years ago, and am now being treated for pre cancerous condition on my arms and hands. It is extremely uncomfortable. Every few years my dermatologist uses a punch to take a piece of my nose for a biopsy. I don't think sunscreens really work that well.


Most of the damage was done years ago, and I just have to treat it as well as I can, But you younger people can prevent some damage to your skin.
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Old 03-09-20, 05:58 AM
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Ironwood,

Very good advice. What did it for me is to see my father-in-laws arms and legs when he was very ill and laying in bed without a shirt on. He had ridden and toured extensively for 50+ years, year round. The areas covered by clothing when riding were basically white. The areas exposed to sun had varying degrees of splotchy brown skin (skin tone of a Latino ranging from light to dark). I never really noticed it before until I could see such a start contrast compared to his torso and his feet. And this was 5+ years after he had mostly quit riding other than a short (1-2 mile) ride on the rail trail so it wasn't a recent "tan". Looked very similar to when I used to get a sunburn as a kid when wearing only my swim suit (think shorter tighter 70s-style) and a t-shirt on but the red skin was splotchy brown. Anyway, all of his brown skin was due to skin damage.

You forgot to mention to use something to cover the neck area and decent sunglasses that protect from UVA & UVB rays.

Tailwinds, John
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Old 03-09-20, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn View Post
You forgot to mention to use something to cover the neck area and decent sunglasses that protect from UVA & UVB rays.

Tailwinds, John
My neck took a beating on my last tour. I bought a Buff when I got home.
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Old 03-10-20, 05:14 AM
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I'm old enough the damage has been done. Since I chose my parents wisely, no cancerous conditions yet, but certainly some premature aging. Young cyclists today seem much more aware of sun damage than I was.

I prefer covering with clothing rather than lotions, especially on sweaty days. I use a long sleeved trekking shirt with collar and some light nylon trousers. An Aussie Warmshowers guest convinced me that cycling with trousers is okay.
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Old 03-10-20, 12:14 PM
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Hear ya. SPF shirts from REi work well, long sleeve and well ventilated. Try neutrogena dry touch 70, recommended by my Dr. Great stuff.
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Old 03-10-20, 12:49 PM
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Good advice except I have to ask about this one statement:

Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I don't think sunscreens really work that well.
Are you saying this because you religiously used and properly applied appropriate SPF levels of sunscreen, because of things you've read, or just how you feel?
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Old 03-11-20, 03:36 PM
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Wilfred Laurier
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Most of my touring friends are gingers - they are fast even without souls - and I am dark haired and get a deep tan early in the Sun Season. They all stop to put on sun screen multiple times a day while I stretch and refill my water bottles. I know I will likely pay for this ignorant behaviour in the future, but I too suspect that sunscreen is not actually all that effective except in preventing sun burns.

I might get one of these before I leave for another tour:

Da Brim :: Products :: Cycling :: Classic

Also, one of my buddies takes off his shirt every time the temperature is above 25 deg. C. "Sun's out, guns out" is his motto. It's like the two of us are having a race to the cancer clinic.
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Old 03-11-20, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Mitkraft View Post
Good advice except I have to ask about this one statement:



Are you saying this because you religiously used and properly applied appropriate SPF levels of sunscreen, because of things you've read, or just how you feel?
I used a lot of sunscreens, but they weren't that good forty years ago. Maybe they are better now. You'll find out in forty or fifty years.

It's interesting that many societies which we consider "less advanced", or "primitive" were a lot wiser than us. The Berbers in North Africa, and Bedouins in the Middle East knew how to protect themselves from the sun.
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Old 03-11-20, 11:16 PM
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Skin cancer is by far what we want to avoid the most, but on the less serious side there is Actinic keratosis.
I have several blotches on my face and it sucks. In most cases, will not turn cancerous, but ugly and so far, almost impossible to heal.
I now wear a big floppy hat on long rides
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Old 03-12-20, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
I too suspect that sunscreen is not actually all that effective except in preventing sun burns.
Obviously, you can do what is best for you. As for me, I had a transplant which the immunsuppression (anti-rejection) drugs which make it like a 300% greater chance of skin cancer. In addition I am have Norwegian which also gives me a better chance at skin cancer. All I know is once I started using sun protection (sunscreen and/or sun block, wearing long-sleeved shirts, a bandana with a long "tail" to cover my neck, hat in camp, etc.), the number of times I had my precancerous skin cells frozen when visiting my dermatologist every 4 months dropped about in half.

So while I do not like having to do this prevention, I figure it is not too bad. At least I am not as "dedicated" as some of the Asians who visit us (WarmShowers) who are touring in full protection so that NO skin is showing, even in the middle of summer.

Tailwinds, John
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Old 03-12-20, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Skin cancer is by far what we want to avoid the most, but on the less serious side there is Actinic keratosis.
I have several blotches on my face and it sucks.
Yea, AK's suck ! I had to have a couple removed from the temporal area of my face last year. With little or no hair on my scalp anymore and wearing a bicycle helmet for 4000 miles a year, a bizarre tanned pattern forms on the top of my head. To prevent this, I have gone to wearing a light weight skull cap underneath my helmet which also absorbs sweat and keeps it out of my eyes.
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Old 03-13-20, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn View Post


So while I do not like having to do this prevention, I figure it is not too bad. At least I am not as "dedicated" as some of the Asians who visit us (WarmShowers) who are touring in full protection so that NO skin is showing, even in the middle of summer.
The summer is the time one should have maximum protection. You are at about the same latitude as Algeria and Tunisia.


To get back to the question of sunscreens, although they may protect from sunburn, they do not necessarily protect from long term damage. There are also question about the safety of PABA, an active ingredient in many sun products. Other products contain nano particles which might cause environmental damage.


Actinic keratosis is also referred to as precancer, because it may develop into basal or squamos cell carcinoma.
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Old 03-14-20, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Yea, AK's suck ! I had to have a couple removed from the temporal area of my face last year. With little or no hair on my scalp anymore and wearing a bicycle helmet for 4000 miles a year, a bizarre tanned pattern forms on the top of my head. To prevent this, I have gone to wearing a light weight skull cap underneath my helmet which also absorbs sweat and keeps it out of my eyes.
I had the same pattern on my head from years of riding. I spent 2 months last year rubbing chemo-cream into my scalp, which turned my scalp into a large scabby patch. It worked, I have a smooth, but scarred, head.today Sevral spots on my shoulers and face were cut out for biopsy along with the chemo treatment.. Today I use sun screen religiously, and wear a skull cap.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-17-20 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 03-15-20, 11:12 PM
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I used to do this sort of work for a living. I never liked sunscreen and am a redhead/extremely fair. I always just cover up completely, pretty much, with clothing. Most decent garments have a pretty high SPF and if you choose carefully, they won't necessarily make you too hot. No need to buy expensive "certified" sun protection clothing. Most regular garments are just fine.
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Old 03-17-20, 07:13 PM
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On my first multi-day tour, in addition to getting a sunburn, I discovered the energy-sapping effects of over-exposure to the sun. After a few days on the road, my skin actually hurt, and I was exhausted. I slept for almost a whole day.

On subsequent tours, I was more vigilant about applying sunscreen and covering up. I exchanged my short sleeved jersey for a long sleeved jersey, bought a kerchief to cover the back of my neck, and stopped frequently to reapply sunblock to my face, front of my neck, and legs. I don't think I've gotten a sunburn since, and I have had more energy on bike tours.

I had a consult with a dermatologist several years ago who told me that overall, I had done an excellent job protecting my skin throughout my life!
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Old 03-17-20, 10:01 PM
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Does anyone have a recommendation for a sunscreen that does not drip into your eyes and make them sting when you sweat? That is the curse of trying to do the rigt thing.
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Old 03-18-20, 03:02 PM
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My imperfect solution is to wrap a kerchief around my head that protects my neck, top of the head, and forehead. Then I use less sunblock north of my eyes.
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Old 03-18-20, 04:50 PM
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When I mentioned to my dermatologist that I faithfully used sunscreen while biking but was often annoyed when my eyes burned at times from sun screen laden sweat from my forehead, he suggested I use a sunscreen stick near my eyes instead of the gooey tube stuff . I hadn't known there was stick sunscreen. And since using it around my eyes (along with regular lotion on lower face, neck, etc.) I haven't been bothered with stinging eyes while riding in the sun. I've had good luck with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen SPF 70. Only trouble is that people must think I'm applying deodorant to my face as the stick looks like a stick deodorant.
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Old 03-20-20, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 2zweelabout View Post
When I mentioned to my dermatologist that I faithfully used sunscreen while biking but was often annoyed when my eyes burned at times from sun screen laden sweat from my forehead, he suggested I use a sunscreen stick near my eyes instead of the gooey tube stuff . I hadn't known there was stick sunscreen. And since using it around my eyes (along with regular lotion on lower face, neck, etc.) I haven't been bothered with stinging eyes while riding in the sun. I've had good luck with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen SPF 70. Only trouble is that people must think I'm applying deodorant to my face as the stick looks like a stick deodorant.
Thanks, I'll try that then.
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